Leper shows us best way to give thanks to Christ

| Deacon Timothy Gapinski | October 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

WINDOW DEPICTS PRIEST'S STOLE AROUND EUCHARIST, CHALICETen lepers met Jesus at the edge of town. Ten people encountered God on that dusty path. Ten were healed, but only one returned.

On the surface, this passage is about being thankful to God. But its full meaning goes deeper.

The Samaritan leper who returned to Jesus was obviously thankful, but does anyone really believe that the other nine were less grateful? Does anyone suppose that when they went out to meet Jesus they were secretly hoping to remain lepers? Or that they were disappointed when they were actually healed? Of course not.

After living for years with the many physical and social burdens of leprosy, they were surely grateful to be able to return to their normal lives. They would have been grateful to God, the only one capable of such an act of healing.

How they showed their gratitude depends on how they viewed God. The “spiritual” ones who viewed God as equally present everywhere would have simply returned to their homes, thinking, “It makes no difference where I worship; God is everywhere and knows all things. He already knows I am thankful.”

The more religious ones who recognized that God manifests his presence to us more fully through particular people and places, would have gone to the priests and offered sacrifices. Perhaps they would have even gone to the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Lord was present in a way far surpassing his presence elsewhere.

Yet, that one Samaritan returned to Jesus glorifying God. He was able to recognize through his healing that God was present in the person of Jesus in a way surpassing even that of the Temple.

Indeed, in the Incarnation, the Godhead has come to dwell among us in a manner infinitely greater than any previous manifestation to his people.

So while those others who did not return to Jesus may have still given thanks to God, their expressions of gratitude were missing something. Because of their preconceived notions about God and how he operates, they were not open to how God wanted to make himself more fully present in their lives.

We often see examples of this today. People will say they do not need to go to Mass because God is present to them in nature or in the poor. Or, they will view all denominations as equals since God is present in the Scriptures.

Like those nine lepers, these people are not wrong, but they are missing something. They are missing an even deeper encounter with Jesus himself in the Eucharist, where God becomes present to us in the most profound way possible this side of heaven.

The Samaritan man who returned to Jesus was able to shed his own small-minded understanding of God, and make that leap of faith in identifying Jesus as God.

By doing so he also understood that if you want to truly give glory to God and thank him, you go where he is most truly present — you go to Jesus.

Likewise, we should go to the Eucharist where he is most truly present, that he may say to us what he said to that Samaritan, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Deacon Gapinski is in formation for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of St. Cloud. His home parish is Sts. Peter and Paul in Gilman, and his teaching parish is Our Lady of Lourdes in Little Falls.


Sunday, Oct. 13
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 2 Kings 5:14-17
  • 2 Timothy 2:8-13
  • Luke 17:11-19

For reflection

Do you participate in eucharistic adoration? If so, how does it help you grow closer to Christ? If not, set aside 15 minutes this week to pray at an adoration chapel.


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Category: Sunday Scriptures